Story and photo by Douglas H Stutz, Naval Hospital Bremerton Public Affairs
It was Medical Mentorship Day on Jan. 17 as Naval Hospital Bremerton’s Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) program hosted 13 Bremerton High School students for their Medical Career Shadow Day.
“Having a viable job shadow program in place, that is inclusive and not exclusive, is a very strong educational tool as part of the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics – STEM – and Science, Service, Medicine and Mentoring – S2M2 – youth programs,” said Hospital Corpsman Senior Chief Arne A. Marin, Branch Health Clinic Bangor Senior Enlisted Leader, Diversity Council coordinator and event facilitator.
“The intent of the program is for these students to get hands-on, face-to-face time with our staff who are already in the medical field, and are able to answer their questions and help a career in Navy medicine,” Marin added.
“We love the partnership we have with Naval Hospital Bremeton. It really expands the understanding of the medical career fields available for our students,” said Deann Irish, Bremerton High School Career Center Specialist.
According to Irish, Bremerton High School has a senior-level business class that includes a job shadowing prerequisite as part of the curicullum. Those interested in medical field careers were afforded the opportunity to visit NHB and fulfill that requirement. Although the majority of students were seniors, there also were two sophmores. “Five of our students who signed up are also in our Navy JROTC (Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps) which has given our younger students the opportunity to take part in this,” Irish said.
After joining the command for the traditional Friday Morning Colors and Pledge of Allegiance, the students were greeted and welcomed aboard by Capt. Christopher Quarles, NHB Commanding Officer and Command Master Chief Douglas George.
“We welcome the students and are glad they are here. This is a great opportunity for them to learn and for us to share,” George said.
With a host of NHB enlisted personnel as assigned mentors, the day commenced in earnest with the students receiving required Patient Privacy and HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) training.
The students then linked up with their mentors for an extended tour of designated work spaces they had chosen beforehand. Each student was asked to chose a primary and secondary specialty, with interest in Nursing topping the list, followed by General Surgery, Family Medicine, Labor and Delivery, Sports Medicine and Physical Therapy, Dermatology, Emergency Services, Dental and Oral Surgery and even a request for information on the role of a social worker in a hospital setting. The visit to a birthing suite in Northwest Beginnings Family Birth Center prompted a host of questions that set an interactive tone for visiting designated work spaces. “No, we have never dropped a baby during a birthing procedure,” replied Hospitalman Franklin Brogan, a Denver, Colo. native assigned to 4/OB, to a query from one of the students on their baby handling proficiency during an actual delivery.
“The entire morning has been good, but I thought the hands-on part in the Simulation Lab was the best. I’m going to be a corpsman and then continue on into nursing. I like helping people,” shared Westin Acchote, Bremerton High School senior.
NHB’s Simulation Center is equipped with several medical mannequins that have advanced technology to provide healthcare providers a chance to accurately practice applying patient care, ranging from the mundane to highly complex on multiple skill levels.
“Everyone involved in this Medical Mentorship Day is helping to make it an impactful event. Obviously the high school students who are visiting today are getting a lot of out being here. Our hospital corpsmen doing the mentoring also get a lot out of it by being able to explain their specialty skill and showcase where they work and what they do,” explained Marin, noting that several of the corpsmen doing the mentoring are themselves only a few years removed from where the high school seniors currently are in trying to put together plans for when they graduate. NHB’s mentorship involvement with the STEM program is patterned after the Naval STEM Strategic Roadmap that focuses on five priority areas: inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers; engage students and build their STEM confidence and skills through hands-on learning activities that incorporate relevant Navy content; educate students to be well prepared for employment in STEM careers that support the Navy and Marine Corps; employ, retain and develop Naval STEM professionals; and collaborate on STEM efforts across the Department of the Navy, federal government and with best practice organizations.
Navy Medicine’s interest in STEM includes embracing diversity, reducing current attrition rates at all levels of schooling and advancing STEM education by partnering with local school like Bremerton High School to help bridge the gaps and address the needs of the Navy and the nation. NHB’s STEM S2M2 program has also taken their support on the road, recently participating in the West Sound STEM Showcase held at Bremerton High School. NHB Diversity Council staffed their “Military Medicine Skill Booth” to showcase such topics as sports injuries and treatment; physical therapy; hemorrhage control; preventive medicine; environmental injuries; dental emergencies; burn victim treatment and more.
“For the students interested in a medical career and also thinking about the Navy, this is such a great way for them to see and hear where they could be,” Marin said.